Not so taxing: Give to club, help yourself

Bob Satnan - Contributing Columnist

Missouri taxpayers can help local youth and themselves with state-sanctioned tax credits.

The Boys & Girls Clubs of West Central Missouri has a couple of tax credit options available and Executive Director Jessica Pyle said now is a good time to consider participating.

“It is really critical to our operation, especially now,” she said. “We are in the last year of our 21st Century (federal grant) funding.”

After federal grants, tax credits are the No. 2 source of income for the club. In fact, the Boys and Girls Clubs’ offices at 3100 Aaron Ave. were built through a tax credit project launched in 2009, Pyle said.

“We have had them for a while,” she said. “We didn’t have them for a couple of years after we moved into this building but we made application again for Youth Opportunities Program tax credits to support Sedalia.”

According to the Internal Revenue Service, “Tax credits provide a dollar-for-dollar reduction of your income tax liability.” In the case of the credits offered by Boys and Girls Clubs, there is a double bonus. As spelled out in the club’s promotional brochure: “Through the Missouri Department of Economic Development’s Youth Opportunities Program and Neighborhood Assistance Program, supporters … can make a donation and deduct the charitable contribution on their taxes as an itemized deduction and also realize 61 percent of the donation amount directly against their adjusted gross income.”

The YOP program is in its second year and is focused on the club’s Sedalia sites.

“Last year, we weren’t able to sell all of them so we extended our project into this year,” Pyle said. “We have a little more than $140,000 in donations that we need to bring in for that project.”

The NAP effort, which will benefit outlying sites such as Cole Camp and La Monte, is a new, two-year project for $300,000. In both programs, the goals are to improve club members’ academic performance, health, career readiness and involvement in service projects. Those targets are not nebulous – the club has to report to the state Department of Economic Development quarterly to prove members are making progress.

“Those goals tie into our three priority outcomes of academic success, healthy lifestyles, and character and leadership development,” said Boys and Girls Clubs Communications Director Emily Jarrett. “So they are things that we already are doing, but we are pushing our staff and our kids to go a little bit above and beyond.”

In the club’s most recent report on the YOP program for the quarter that ended June 30, members exceeded target outcomes in two of the four criteria areas, academic performance and awareness of the negative effects of drugs and alcohol. The two other targets – physical fitness and service learning – will likely be met before the next report is filed.

Pyle and Jarrett urged local residents to talk with their tax preparer or accountant to better understand the benefits of the credits.

“The hardest thing with tax credits is that people kind of understand them, but many don’t understand how beneficial they can be especially if you are in a higher tax bracket,” Jarrett said. “And it does not have to be tens of thousands of dollars. We got (a tax credit donation) last year for $200.”

Also, the credits are available to any Missouri resident, so if Grandpa Jim in Bolivar wants to support Little Janie’s participation at the club’s downtown Sedalia site, he can make a donation to Boys and Girls Clubs of West Central Missouri and both he and his granddaughter will benefit. While individuals can donate to the YOP program, those giving to the NAP have to show scheduled quarterly income.

Pyle said she has been reaching out to farmers and others in agribusiness through the Missouri Farm Bureau and the Missouri Co-Op, and she plans to make a pitch as part of the Sedalia Showcase at the Missouri State Fair. Jarrett said the club would be happy to provide presentations to local service groups to raise awareness and answer questions.

Especially in the case of the Youth Opportunities Program project, if it does not sell out this year the club will have to extend it for another year, which will limit its ability to pursue other grant funding.

“A lot of people think about their charitable giving at the end of the year, but if they can think about it now and plan for it now that would really help us,” Jarrett said.

Bob Satnan

Contributing Columnist

Bob Satnan is the communications director for Sedalia School District 200.

Bob Satnan is the communications director for Sedalia School District 200.

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